Day 78. 161 pages, 58,131 words. I had planned on getting short story #3 finished today, but no such luck.
Lake Philip was rising steadily in the street outside. I saw immediately that the footpath and road were simply not going to be options. By the time I got down the little set of steps at the front of the L&E tower, I realised the sludgy brown-black muck would be knee deep at street level, and it was swirling suspiciously as though there were currents running beneath the surface. Currents, or something else entirely. Either way, I didn’t want to encounter them.
As I stood on the steps and watched, a surge ran through the reeking mire, and the level dropped considerably. This development corresponded to another sink-hole opening up and swallowing half of the street, and three parked cars, a block away. I took a moment to feel faintly sorry for the people who, sometime this morning or maybe last night, must have been thrilled at their good fortune in finding parking spaces on Prince Philip Street.
On the plus side, I thought, peering out over the neck of my T-shirt, a couple more of those sink-holes and the level might drop enough for me to slog along the pavement without wrecking more than my boots. Still, I couldn’t depend on that happening, and I hadn’t really planned on slogging today. Besides, the next sink-hole might be directly underneath me. And even if it wasn’t, that surge – in gunk this thick – had looked strong enough to sweep my feet out from under me. I’d been wondering about the best way to get back underground with the trumpet, but this was not it.
The sludge shifted again, rising slowly against the steps, and suddenly an off-white shape flopped over in the vile muck, gleamed briefly in the sun, and vanished beneath the surface once again.
The bodies had begun to rise.
As I was watching the place where the corpse had disappeared – and it had been a corpse, I was relieved to note, not any sort of living dead that I was aware of, or if it had been then it’d been an undead that couldn’t swim – I realised I was missing something quite elementary. Quickly I turned and trotted back into the tower, and a couple of minutes later I was back at the lost and found desk.
You would never get yourself mucky going through that bog outside, I thought intently at the absent Rose, so how did you get our X-ray specs out of here and over to your meeting with your ex-husband?
I rounded the desk, walked past the shelves Rose had cursorily examined on my last visit, and deeper into the lost and found. I looked down.
“Trapdoor,” I muttered, nodding to myself. “There’s always a trapdoor.”